Luxury and drama never looked more provocative than in the homes of old Hollywood’s A-listers. One of the most far-reaching decorating styles of the 20th century, Hollywood Regency captures all the glitz and glamour of the silver screen and translates it into breathtaking interiors. Even though the Golden Era of Hollywood is long gone, the interior ode to its allure is very much alive. Lavish extravagance and thoughtful design, constructed to pamper satisfaction of those lucky enough to be spending time in it are what make Hollywood Regency style so sought-after even to this day.
But don’t be fooled – Hollywood Regency interior design is not reserved only for the most privileged anymore. If you’d fancy a little bling in your personal quarters, now is your chance to shine!
Stay with us as we explore the key elements of this unique decorating style and how to make the most of it in your own space.
History of Hollywood Regency Style
The style emerged back in the 1920s when all the luxe of the movie sets started spilling over into the homes of celebrities. Actors and actresses became obsessed with the idea of creating interiors where they could entertain their guests in an environment fitting of a glamorous blockbuster. The idea spread like wildfire! Even Nancy Reagen couldn’t resist this newly found interior obsession of the Hollywood elite.
Designed by Dorothy Draper
Image source: Matchbook’s Magazine
The craze took flight to such an extreme that the interior decorators of the period Dorothy Draper, Billy Haines, David Hicks and Billy Baldwin became celebrities and design icons themselves and so the profession of an interior designer was born!
Americanised traditional style, or as some like to call it Art Deco on steroids, had its peak between the 1930s and 1940s and evolved with each passing decade. It never really went out of fashion, but lately, we are witnessing its tremendous surge in popularity as people are looking to build their personal luxe havens where they can unwind after a long day with a busy schedule.
Let’s discover how to spot Hollywood Regency interiors when we see them and find out if we are brave enough to embrace the look!
Designed by David Hicks
Image source: 1dibs
How to Spot the Style
Well, a better question would be how to miss it. Designed with opulence in mind, Hollywood Regency dials up the drama to the extreme with big patterns and bright colours adorning everything from floor to ceiling.
But here are some key elements to keep an eye on.
Hollywood Regency design style is pretty much an eclectic mix of Art Deco, classic Regency style, Chinoiserie, Neoclassicism and Modernism, so expect the unexpected.
To create a visually exciting space, Hollywood Regency embraces bold colours and patterns. Black and white harlequin and checkerboard patterns are often used as a foundation, spiced up with blocks of contrasting colours such as turquoise, pink, yellow, royal purple and emerald green.
Image source: Jonathan Adler
Romeo Rega Style Brass Mirror £1,250.00
Eye-catching Art Deco and Neoclassical motifs, trellis, animal and oversized botanical prints are highly favoured as well.
Everything is about contrast – the colour palette, accessories, shapes and even furniture scale. Super clean with super fussy.
Synonymous with luxury, touchy textiles are a must, with velvet, silk, suede, chenille and fur being the most obvious choices.
Black or white lacquer bring in the bling like no other, making everything shine bright like a diamond. High-gloss and pristine polished surfaces, enriched with huge mirrors to reflect all this gorgeous decadence are topped with golden and brass elements amplifying brights even further.
Image source: South Shore Decorating Blog
Hollywood Regency brings a new twist on the classic furniture (that’s why it is so timeless). However seductive it might be with its bold upholstery, it is still not competing with the charm of the owner of the residence. It is only there to provide the mood and highlight their personal style. Low-slung, small-scale furniture is strategically arranged to encourage socialising, as people and the way they interact are an absolute imperative.
But as Dorothy Draper suggests, no decorating rules should be left unbroken.
Glam accessories and collector’s touches sprinkled throughout the room are there to evoke escapism and emphasise character. Crystal chandeliers, fringed lampshades, avant-garde art and antique-looking fretwork, are just some of the essential features of the Hollywood Regency look.
Shop the Look
Now the big question – how to pull off the look and not hit the kitsch button?
There is no blueprint, but the best advice would be to start small, as making a couple of outrageous pieces work together in a single room would require some seriously advanced decorating skills.
Take your time. Building up a Hollywood Regency living room will require some collecting. Luckily, today we have brilliant online resources where we can go for an online furniture treasure hunt everytime we want.
Start with some bold statement piece such as this Italian 1960s sideboard and let it enjoy being in the spotlight.
Then start layering the glam.
Don’t forget – it’s quality over quantity.
High impact furniture such as this Gilt Wheatsheaf Table you can see below will surely make a wonderful conversation piece.
What is Hollywood Regency without the mirrors? The more, the merrier. But always pay attention to their reflection as you will want to showcase people at their best, not while they’re having a meal.
While not everyone can afford original Billy Baldwin furniture, that shouldn’t stop them from incorporating luxe maximalism of the era into their personal space. Many Hollywood Regency pieces are within reach for everyone.
Just make yourself comfortable, forget about the TV and invite your friends over to an evening of cocktails and good old-fashioned fun. That’s about the best advice you could get.